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Cablegate: Daily Summary of Japanese Press 08/27/07

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PP RUEHFK RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH
DE RUEHKO #3966/01 2390827
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 270827Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
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INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
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RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RHHMHBA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI
RHMFIUU/HQ PACAF HICKAM AFB HI//CC/PA//
RUALSFJ/COMUSJAPAN YOKOTA AB JA//J5/JO21//
RUYNAAC/COMNAVFORJAPAN YOKOSUKA JA
RUAYJAA/CTF 72
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 5229
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 2800
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 6423
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 1818
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 3547
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8621
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 4684
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 5626

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 06 TOKYO 003966

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;
WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;
TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;
SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,
DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA
FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;
CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OIIP KMDR KPAO PGOV PINR ECON ELAB JA

SUBJECT: DAILY SUMMARY OF JAPANESE PRESS 08/27/07


Index:

(1) Editorial: Bush's speech heavily touched on Japan's past

(2) Editorial: DPJ to be tested in it ability to make policy and to
bring about a dissolution of the Lower House

(3) Editorial: Economic partnership agreement; Concern about fate of
agricultural policy

(4) Tokyo protests Russian minister's inspection of Northern
Territories, concerned about such being demonstration of Russia's
effective control over controversial islands

(5) Iceland to suspend commercial whaling because of low prospects
for sales to Japan

ARTICLES:

(1) Editorial: Bush's speech heavily touched on Japan's past

ASAHI (Page 3) (Full)
August 25, 2007

People in power tend to interpret historical events to serve their
own interests.

President Bush, too, seems to have cherry-picked some historical
events in his speech delivered on August 22 at the Veterans of
Foreign Wars convention. He specifically cited World War II and the
Vietnam War in an attempt to justify the Iraq war and underline the
need to keep US troops there.

In the speech, President Bush said:

"The militarists of Japan and the communists in Korea and Vietnam
were driven by a merciless vision for the proper ordering of
humanity. . . . Some said Japanese culture was inherently
incompatible with democracy. A lot of Japanese believed that
democracy wouldn't work."

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States
reminded many Americans of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and its
strategy of suicide attacks. Bush is believed to have referred to
Japan, knowing that ahead of launching the Iraq war, some in the US
government had thought of Japan as a prime example of democracy that
resulted from the use of force.

But it is absurd to view Iraq as an extension of the successful
democratization of Japan in the postwar period. Japan had
experienced the Freedom and People's Rights Movement in the Meiji
Period (1868-1912) and the liberal movement in the Taisho Era
(1912-1926). It was the popular will not to start a war again that
prevented militarism from coming back to life in Japan, although it
was also helped by the Occupation's democratization policy. Unlike
Iraq, Japan was also free from a battle against the United States.

It is also too simplistic to think that America's withdrawal from
Vietnam resulted in a large number of Vietnamese refugees and the
Pol Pot massacres in Cambodia. How much did the Vietnamese people
suffer because of the US intervention in the war? History ignores
the fact that US bombings of Cambodia emboldened the Khmer Rouge as

TOKYO 00003966 002 OF 006


well.

One of the lessons we can learn from WWII and the Vietnam War
regarding Iraq is that the future of a country should be left to the
hands of the people of that country. After eliminating the war
leaders, things were left to autonomy in Japan and Germany.
Washington and Hanoi would not have been so close if it were not for
the United States departure from Vietnam.

In any case, President Bush heavily referred to Japan in his speech,
which went:

"There were critics who argued that democracy could not succeed in
Japan because the national religion -- Shinto -- was too fanatical
and rooted in the Emperor. Some said that that if we did not put the
Emperor on trial, any steps we may take to create democracy are
doomed to failure. Instead of abolishing the imperial throne,
Americans and Japanese worked together to find a place for the
Emperor in the democratic political system, and as a result,
Japanese democracy grew stronger."

There is concern in the United States that the conservative trend in
Japan, as seen in paying homage at Yasukuni Shrine and the so-called
wartime comfort women issue, would lead to the justification of WWII
and eventually prompt Japan to turn away from the United States. Was
President Bush's speech also intended to apply pressure on a Japan
that never faces up to its past?

President Bush and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have indicated that the
ties between Japan and the United States are based on common values.
We would like to see the two leaders thoroughly discuss WWII from
that perspective.

(2) Editorial: DPJ to be tested in it ability to make policy and to
bring about a dissolution of the Lower House

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)
August 24, 2007

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which was the leading force
behind the trading of places between the ruling and opposition camps
in the House of Councillors' election, will reshuffle its "Next
Cabinet" on Aug. 31. The largest opposition party will then be ready
for the extraordinary Diet session to be convened on Sept. 10.

President Ichiro Ozawa has advocated the need for a two-party
system, which enables changes of government. In order to have the
two-party system take root, it is indispensable for the DPJ to win
the next House of Representatives election. To that end, the party
has to overcome two challenges: one is the capability of the DPJ to
force Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to dissolve the Lower House under a
situation where it would be possible to win the general election
that would follow; and the other is the capability to formulate
policy measures that can demonstrate its capability of assuming the
political reigns.

While maintaining the triumvirate with Deputy President Naoto Kan,
and Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, Ozawa reportedly will
reshuffle other key party portfolios. He will probably place
emphasis on the Diet Affairs Committee, Policy Research Committee
and Election Campaign Committee chairmen -- posts which are directly
engaged in creating a "political situation," and "policy measures."

TOKYO 00003966 003 OF 006

It is now possible for the opposition bloc to pass censure motions
against the cabinet and ministers in the Upper House. It is also
easy for the opposition to exercise the right to investigate state
affairs. The opposition can now call on the cabinet and public
offices to submit reports and records, and it also can summon
witnesses and un-sworn witnesses to testify before the Diet. If
bills sponsored by opposition lawmakers are submitted first to the
Upper House, they will be able to clear the Diet.

Censure motions submitted to the Upper House do not have the same
legal foundation as those submitted to the Lower House. In 1998,
however, a motion against then defense chief Fukushiro Nukaga, who
was pressed to take responsibility for the Defense Agency's Central
Procurement Office's breach of trust scandal, was adopted. As a
result, Nukaga was forced to quit his post. If a censure motion gets
public support, it could have sufficient political power.

In a bid to indirectly support the war on terrorism in Afghanistan,
Japan has dispatched Maritime Self-Defense vessels in the Indian
Ocean based on the Antiterrorism Special Measures Law, which will
expire on Nov. 1.

The DPJ has opposed the Antiterrorism Law from the start. In his
meeting with US Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer, Ozawa repeated
his opposition to the law. Characterizing the law as symbol of the
Japan-US alliance, the government and ruling coalition strongly hope
to extend it. In that case, the DPJ should display its
counterproposals in accordance with the kind of Japan-US relations
that the DPJ envisions. The DPJ's capabilities of "making policy
measures" and "carrying out politics" will be tested for the first
time.

Certain appointments must be approved by both houses of the Diet.
The Diet has to approve appointments of the Board of Audit
commissioners and of the NHK Compliance Committee members. Attention
is especially being focused on the selection of successor to Bank of
Japan Gov. Toshihiko Fukui, whose term in office will expire next
March. The DPJ's basic position is that appointing a former
bureaucrat as BOJ governor is a problem. If coordination between the
government and ruling camp ends in failure, the government's work
will fall into a jumble.

In the 1998 Upper House election, the LDP suffered a defeat and the
opposition camp controlled the Upper House. Then DPJ President Naoto
Kan did not take the tactic of forcing the prime minister to
dissolve the Lower House for a general election, saying: "We will
not link the financial problem to dissolving the Lower House." He
lacked the ability to create a change in the political situation.

LDP Secretary General Hidenao Nakagawa has called on the DPJ to form
a grand alliance. However, the LDP and DPJ should wait for public
opinion to weigh in first in the next Lower House election.

Creating tension in the political situation is the immediate duty of
the DPJ, the largest opposition party, which is also on a path to
obtaining the reins of government.

(3) Editorial: Economic partnership agreement; Concern about fate of
agricultural policy

MAINICHI (Page 5) (Full)

TOKYO 00003966 004 OF 006


August 27, 2007

Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached
a consensus on a framework of the signing of an economic partnership
agreement (EPA). This is going to be the first time for Japan to
sign an EPA with a regional association. The two parties are
expected to reach a formal agreement in November and the pact will
go into effect as early as next spring. The observation has been
growing that Japan is lagging behind other countries in terms of
signing free trade agreements (FTA). The agreement is apparently an
opportunity for it to recover from the setback.

ASEAN is a region that serves as a linchpin in regional cooperation
in East Asia. It has already signed an FTA with China and South
Korea, while Japan has so far signed FTAs only on a bilateral basis
with a few countries, such as Thailand and Malaysia. It is highly
significant for Japan to sign an FTA with the ASEAN region as a
whole.

Eliminating most trade tariffs will work favorably to the
competitiveness of Japanese companies. Once Japan and ASEAN formally
signs the EPA, Japanese companies will no longer have to pay tariffs
that have been imposed each time their goods in trade crossed
borders in the form of parts and semi-finished goods before they
became end products.

Regarding flat-screen TV sets, over which Japanese manufacturers are
engaging in fierce competition with South Korea manufacturers,
Japanese companies will have the edge over foreign competitors when
they export to ASEAN nations liquid crystal displays or plasma
panels, key parts for such televisions, and fabricate end products
there by procuring peripheral parts.

An EPA between Japan and ASEAN is important in creating a
cooperative framework in East Asia. Japan uses the term EPA instead
of FTA, because the envisaged pact targets broad areas, including
not only the abolition of or cuts in tariffs but also services and
investments.

It is necessary for Japan as an industrialized country to establish
a high-quality relationship of cooperation with ASEAN. Signing an
EPA with that regional entity will enable Japan to strengthen
cooperation in human resources, including accepting trainees, while
strengthening the contents of the pact, such as improving the
investment environment and taking up intellectual property rights
issues. Such a possibility will lead to enhancing Japan's presence
in the process of establishing rules for the formation of an East
Asia economic community.

Japan's foreign policy toward ASEAN has been to have it accept
Japan's viewpoint by pledging aid and investment through bilateral
talks. However, ASEAN now insists on involving the region as a
whole, claiming that single-country negotiations are disadvantageous
to ASEAN.

As it has become necessary for Japan to come up with drastic
proposals, it has decided to remove tariffs amounting to 90 PERCENT
of the value of imports from ASEAN once the pact takes effect.
Probably as part of such a decision, it has extensively made
concessions over the auto area, as can be seen in the agreement that
five ASEAN countries, such as Thailand, exempted imports of finished
cars from tariff abolition.

TOKYO 00003966 005 OF 006

The most difficult trade issue for Japan is how to handle
agricultural goods. The agreement reached with ASEAN this time has
exempted rice, sugar and dairy products from liberalization. EPA
talks with Australia, a major agricultural goods exporter, have
begun.

The government's agricultural policy can be one reason for the
Liberal Democratic Party's (LDP) crushing defeat in the recent Upper
House election. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto),
which has gained the largest number of seats in the election, is
calling for setting up an individual income compensation system.

A fight over who would be eligible for such a system and what
mechanism the envisaged system should have is expected to break out
between the government and the ruling parties. Agricultural policy
should not relapse into a transitory vote-catching policy.

(4) Tokyo protests Russian minister's inspection of Northern
Territories, concerned about such being demonstration of Russia's
effective control over controversial islands

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
August 27, 2007

Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade German Gref on
August 8 inspected the Northern Territories, such as Kunashiri
Island, sources revealed yesterday. Back in June, Russian Foreign
Minister Lavrov inspected Kunashiri and Shikotan Islands. In recent
years the Russian government, backed by its business boom, has
accelerated its efforts to develop the Far Eastern region. The
Japanese government is becoming nervous about this move by Moscow,
with one government official speculating: "There is a good
possibility that Russian cabinet members will visit the Northern
Territories more often than ever in order to demonstrate its
effective control of them."

According to the Japanese Foreign Ministry, Gref, who has been
tasked with improvement of social infrastructure in distant areas of
Russia, has led a "social and economic development plan" to develop
the Kurile Islands, including the disputed four Northern Islands.

Gref arrived in Kunashiri Island by airplane and inspected an
electric power plant and other facilities and told officials
concerned that he would speed up the pace of modernizing the airport
and harbors. Gref also inspected Shikotan Island and the Habomai
islets from the air.

Japan conveyed its concern via its embassy to Russia, saying that
because of the territorial issue that is still going on between
Japan and Russia, it was inappropriate for high-level government
officials to visit the Northern Territories. However, there has
reportedly been no response from Moscow.

(5) Iceland to suspend commercial whaling because of low prospects
for sales to Japan

SANKEI (Page 2) (Full)
August 27, 2007

The Fisheries Ministry of Iceland has revealed as of Aug. 26 that it
would provide no new catch quotas for commercial whaling, which it

TOKYO 00003966 006 OF 006


resumed last year for the first time in 21 years. As the reasons for
the decision, the ministry cites little interest shown by clients in
whale meat. A senior Icelandic ministry official told Reuters News
Agency that it will be unprofitable even if the government releases
catch quotas because no progress has been made in negotiations with
Japan on sales of whale meat.

Iceland had suspended commercial whaling since 1985, but it resumed
it last October, in response to complaints from fishermen, such
voices as: "As a result of whales eating fishes, fish stocks are
decreasing." Although it planned to catch nine fin whales and 30
minke whales by the end of this month for commercial purposes,
Icelandic whalers actually hunted down only seven of each of the
species.

A senior Icelandic ministry official commented: "The government of
Iceland is still carrying out negotiations with the Japanese
government on food-safety standards and export permission, but both
have yet to reach a conclusion."

Only Norway and Iceland hunt whales for commercial purposes.

MESERVE

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